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Aerial view of Florence, Nichols, Conway and Waccamaw, South Carolina, impacted by floodwaters on Sept. 21. South Carolina Air National Guard

By Sharon Kelly

2018 is set to rank as the fourth warmest year on record—and the fourth year in a row reflecting a full degree Celsius (1.8° Fahrenheit) temperature rise from the late 1800s, climate scientists say.

This was the year that introduced us to fire tornadoes, bomb cyclones and in Death Valley, a five-day streak of 125°F temperatures, part of the hottest month ever documented at a U.S. weather station.

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Downtown Houston surrounded by flooding and mist after Hurricane Harvey. Prairie Pictures / The Image Bank / Getty Images

The science is clear that in order to prevent more extreme weather events like hurricanes, we need to stop burning fossil fuels. Thursday, EcoWatch reported on a study that found major hurricanes in the past decade were made five to 10 percent wetter because of global warming, and another study last year calculated that the record rainfall that flooded Texas during Hurricane Harvey was made three times more likely due to climate change.

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A flooded house in New Bern, North Carolina Thursday as the outer bands of Hurricane Florence began to douse the state. Atilgan Ozdil / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Hurricane Florence, which the first pre-storm study of its kind shows will be more than 50 percent wetter due to climate change, began to soak North Carolina Thursday night into Friday morning, The Washington Post reported.

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Astronaut Rickey Arnold took this photograph of Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Sept. 10. NASA

By Kristy Dahl

Hurricane Florence is currently making its way as a Category 4 storm toward the southeast coast and is expected to make landfall sometime on Thursday, most likely in North Carolina. Our hearts are with those who are looking at the storm's predicted path and wondering what this means for their homes, families and communities.

As millions of residents in the storm's path make preparations to stay safe, our hearts are also with the thousands of people who have faced similar risks in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico in the past year. If you are in the Carolinas, please do take care to heed local warnings and evacuation orders—and know that we are all hoping for your safety.

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Although Hawaii avoided a direct hit by Hurricane Lane, which weakened to a tropical storm over the weekend, areas of the Big Island were inundated with waist-deep water and flash flooding.

Mountain View, located on the east side of the island, received a preliminary total of 51.53 inches of rain from Aug. 22-26—the third highest storm total rainfall from a tropical cyclone in the U.S. since 1950, according to the National Weather Service.

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Flooding in Houston's energy corridor following Hurricane Harvey on Sept. 4, 2017. Revolution Messaging / Public domain

The burning of fossil fuels is the driving force behind climate change, and now the companies responsible want the government to help pay to protect them from the consequences.

Texas is seeking at least $12 billion to build a network of seawalls, levees, gates and earthen structures that would protect a stretch of the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the area south of Houston that houses 30 percent of U.S. oil refining capacity, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

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